John Scofield - The 1980's on Sunday Night Jazz Showcase

Aug 28, 2020

John Scofield
Credit Jazz Guitar Online

Sunday Night Jazz Showcase

Program #294 (August 30 at 8:00 p.m.)

Known for his distinctive, slightly distorted sound, guitarist John Scofield is a masterful jazz improviser who has straddled the lines between straight-ahead post-bop, fusion, funk, and soul-jazz. One of the big three of late-20th-century jazz guitarists (along with Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell), Scofield's influence grew in the '90s and continued into the 21st century.

He first emerged in the mid-'70s playing with trumpeter Chet Baker and drummer Billy Cobham before launching his solo career and issuing pivotal early works like 1977's East Meets West and 1981's Out Like a Light. He was an integral member of Miles Davis' ensemble in the '80s, and kept on releasing his own albums, including 1986's Blue Matter and 1998's A Go Go with Medeski, Martin & Wood.

Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1951, Scofield grew up in Wilton, Connecticut, where he first started out on guitar while in high school. From 1970 to 1973 he studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and often played locally. After recording with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker at Carnegie Hall, Scofield was a member of the Billy Cobham-George Duke band for two years. In 1977 he recorded with Charles Mingus, and later joined the Gary Burton quartet and Dave Liebman's quintet. His own early sessions as a leader, including 1977's East Meets West, 1978's Rough House, and 1979's Ivory Forest, were funk-oriented.

Between 1982 and 1985, Scofield toured the world and recorded with Miles Davis. While with Davis, he continued to make time for his own projects, recording with players like Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Eddie Harris, and a host of others. His own albums during this period, like 1988's Flat Out, 1990's Meant to Be, and 1993's Hand Jive, found him moving in a more post-bop-oriented direction. He also joined the jazz supergroup Bass Desires, playing alongside bassist Marc Johnson, guitarist Bill Frisell, and drummer Peter Erskine.

(provided by Allmusic)